I love downsizing. I love going through my things and getting rid of any thing I can. There is something so very therapeutic about it, like a weight cast off your shoulders. Some of the items I give away, some I sell. It depends on the item. But where do you start if you have never downsized before? Me, I recommend starting with the refrigerator.
Most people I know like to put foods in the fridge but rarely take out as much as they put in. Eventually, hidden at the back, are a selection of forgotten items, out of date, going mouldy, possibly even multiplying. Scary thought. My rule of thumb is if you can’t see it when you open the door, it doesn’t belong in there.
It doesn’t matter what size refrigerator you have, from small to massive, every 6 months or at least a year you should downsize your fridge.
So how to go about downsizing?
Start at the top and work your way down. Take out whatever is on the top shelf and put it on a nearby counter or table. Don’t worry you aren’t going to take so long that items will warm up (but you may want to be sensible and do this in spring and autumn on a cool day,not in the heat of summer).
Now look over your items. What you are looking for?
- Out of date items? – in the rubbish bin / trash!
- No idea what it is? – Bin!
- Half empty? Gunky lid? Can’t remember last time you ate some – Trash!
- Haven’t eaten any in the last year – Garbage! (even if still in date.)
I know, I know, there is always that ‘what if?’ Such as, what if I want to make that mushroom lasagne with the tahini sauce I have always thought about making? Simple. Buy the ingredients when you are actually ready to make it.
Now, look over what you are getting rid of. Look for any consistent culprits. Are you someone that buys lots of jars of pickles and then never seems to eat them? Or a large pot of yoghurt and it goes off before you finish it? Some items may seem cheaper when bought large or in bulk, but if you wind up throwing some away, it’s no longer a bargain.
What you should be left with is items that are in date, you eat often, and a few basic staples you cook with regularly (essentially your condiments). Put these back in the fridge and hopefully you have paired it down so that you can now see everything on the shelf. Don’t feel you have to push things to the back to take up the space. You’ll be surprised by how having a less full fridge is less stressful, empowering, therapeutic even.
Here’s some additional hints to help your fridge stay downsized.
- Only buy when you have finished something, not when it is almost finished.
- Don’t buy large. Buy what you need, now.
- Grow some of your own foods, from veg garden to containers inside.
- Look in your fridge and then make a List for shopping.
- Give yourself a shopping budget, now reduce it slightly.*
- And the one I love ~ at least once a week, if not regularly, look in your fridge and pick a food item that needs consuming – anything from a chicken to a cauliflower. Now pick a second ingredient; a lemon or cheese… whatever. Take those two items and google them adding the word recipe, for example; chicken lemon recipe. Find a recipe that as closely as possible matches what’s in your fridge, without you having to buy anything too way out there and will never get used again. Be creative and try something new.
Okay you have less food in your fridge, what next? Plan your meals around what you have, rather than what you don’t have. By having less in your fridge you are also more likely to remember what you do have in there.
And, when you’ve done this, it’s time to tackle your pantry or cupboards of non-perishable foods. Ditto to all of the above.
*PS: if you are asking, how a budget will help you downsize? Particularly if you are lucky enough not to need to. And why I say, reduce it slightly? A budget, and list, will help you not fill your fridge again. By limiting how much you spend you won’t be tempted by those so called bargains. A list will also keep you focused from buying too many items you don’t need, or stop you doubling up on what you already have. By reducing your budget, even just a little, it makes you think what you really need versus what’s an extra. Who knows, try it and you may save some money which you could then spend on a treat for yourself.